So maybe this isn’t coming a week after my first post on Airbnb, Tips for Airbnb Hosts, I might have gotten a bit caught up in a side project of mine called Newzie. More news on that coming soon. Airbnb hosting has been a great experience, and it has taught me a ton about being your own boss, running your own business, and being an entrepreneur. Here are a few of my biggest learnings for what Airbnb has taught me about being an entrepreneur.
1. It’s a lot of work
Between the communication, setting up your spot, updating the cal, getting photos, laundry, cleaning, everything, it’s a lot of work. You typically don’t have a full time staff working for you, so this is all you. You are the business development team, the creative team, and most certainly the customer support team. If you do not perform at the highest level at each of these positions, you could see sales decrease. Thanks to the transparency of reviewing hosts and guests, if you mess up, everyone will know, and your business will suffer.
This is one of the reasons why I love Airbnb. You get rewarded for a job well done.
2. You do things that don’t scale
When you are first starting out your Airbnb empire, you must do things that don’t scale. You need to go above and beyond to make your guests stay frictionless and enjoyable. Greet them at the door, listen to their needs/wants, and try to accommodate them anyway possible. Imagine you are now running a hotel, and your customer is always right!
Personally, one of the biggest takeaways i’ve learned is the interaction between your guest. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. They rented a room online, from a stranger, they know nothing about. It is your job to quickly rid any doubt or uncertainty in your guests mind. A few quick ways to to this is…
- Be 100% transparent with your listing.
- Over-communicate, and let your guest know all the logistics of their stay.
- Greet them at the door, and get to know them (be genuine, and sincerely interested)
- After a few days ask if there is anything you can do to make their stay more enjoyable.
- Go above and beyond. Figure out that one thing, maybe it’s a welcome basket, free tickets to a show, whatever it is find something that makes your stay the most enjoyable and memorable.
3. A-B Testing
In regards to your listing. Try different photos, listing titles, and listing descriptions. Maybe you try an image of the common room for a few weeks, and then you showcase the room as the featured image a few weeks later. Get creative and test all of the available listing features. Notice how the images you switch in or out and the descriptions affect the number of requests.
4. Benchmarking & Listening
Take a look around at the options around you. What do they have that you don’t? What are their reviews saying? How much are they priced? What is the name of their listing? The Airbnb world is not unlike the business world. You have to understand what your competition is doing, and one up them. Equally as important, you need to learn from your customers, take the feedback given and put it into your product. If you are seeing others really love a fast internet connection, maybe it is worth investing in better WiFi. If people were displeased about the size of the space, maybe you need to be more transparent with the description, and the photos.
5. It’s all about the user experience
At the end of the day, Airbnb guests respond to a quality stay. From the second you start the interaction, to the check-out time, you have to be on your game. It is your job as an Airbnb host to create a frictionless, enjoyable, and memorable experience. If you do these three things you are almost 100% guaranteed a good review, and at that point, you will have invested so much time and energy into making your guests stay enjoyable, you’ll start to realize you’re no longer a businessman or women, but a host and then a friend.
Happy Airbnb-ing everyone!